Microsoft 365 / O365

Microsoft E1 vs E3: Which is Right for Your Organization?

Microsoft E1 vs E3

  • Microsoft E1 License:
    • Basic online Office apps (Word, Excel, etc.).
    • Essential services like email, calendar, and Teams.
    • Ideal for small to medium-sized businesses.
  • Microsoft E3 License:
    • Includes all E1 features plus full desktop Office applications.
    • Advanced security features and compliance tools.
    • Suitable for larger organizations with complex needs.

Introduction to Microsoft E1 and E3 Licenses

Microsoft E1 license vs E3

In today’s dynamic business environment, choosing the right Microsoft 365 enterprise plan is crucial.

The Microsoft E1 and E3 licenses are popular in the Microsoft 365 suite, each catering to different organizational needs.

  • Definition and Purpose: The Microsoft E1 and E3 licenses are part of the Microsoft 365 enterprise plans, offering a range of productivity tools and services.
  • Roles in Microsoft 365 Enterprise Plans: E1 is designed for businesses seeking essential services, while E3 provides more advanced features.
  • Target Users: E1 is ideal for companies needing basic Office applications and services, whereas E3 suits those requiring comprehensive tools, including desktop apps and enhanced security features.

Detailed Comparison of Microsoft E1 and E3 Licenses

Understanding the nuances between Microsoft E1 and E3 licenses is key to making an informed decision for your organization.

Features in Both E1 and E3 Licenses:

  • Common Offerings: Both plans include essential Office 365 online services like email, calendar, and Teams.
  • Collaboration Tools: They provide access to collaboration platforms like SharePoint and OneDrive.

Differences Between E1 and E3 Licenses:

  • Office Apps: E3 offers a full suite of Microsoft Office apps for desktops unavailable in E1.
  • Cloud Storage: E1 includes 1TB of OneDrive storage, whereas E3 offers expandable storage options.
  • Security Features: E3 boasts advanced security features like data loss prevention (DLP) and rights management, which are not part of E1.

E3’s Additional Benefits for Remote Workers and Data Management:

  • Remote Work Efficiency: E3’s desktop apps enhance productivity for remote workers.
  • Data Management Functions include archiving, rights management, and document-level encryption for better data control.

Pricing Analysis for Microsoft E1 and E3 Licenses

When considering Microsoft 365 licenses, it’s important to evaluate the cost against the features provided.

The E1 and E3 licenses have distinct pricing structures:

Comparative Pricing:

  • Microsoft E1 License: Typically starts at a lower price point. As per Microsoft’s listing, it’s geared towards businesses needing essential services.
  • Microsoft E3 License: Priced higher than E1, reflecting its broader range of features, including full desktop Office applications and enhanced security tools.

Cost-Effectiveness and Target Business Size:

  • E1 License: More cost-effective for small to medium-sized businesses or organizations requiring basic online Office applications without desktop versions.
  • E3 License: Suitable for larger businesses or those needing comprehensive tools, advanced security, and desktop application access. It offers more excellent value for businesses requiring these additional features.

Choosing the Right License for Your Business

Selecting between the E1 and E3 licenses hinges on understanding your organization’s specific needs:

Factors to Consider:

  • Organizational Size and Scope: Larger organizations or those with complex requirements may find more value in E3.
  • Remote Workforce Needs: If your team relies heavily on remote work, the desktop applications and enhanced security in E3 might be beneficial.
  • Budget Constraints: For businesses with limited budgets, E1 offers essential services at a lower cost.

Scenarios for Each License Type:

  • E1 License Benefits: Ideal for businesses primarily using cloud-based applications and less dependency on desktop software.
  • E3 License Benefits: Best suited for organizations that require robust security features, desktop application access, and a sizable remote workforce.

Ultimately, the choice between E1 and E3 should align with your business’s operational needs, budget considerations, and the specific tools your workforce requires to be efficient and secure.

Top 5 Recommendations for License Management

Effectively managing Microsoft licenses, such as E1 and E3, is key to maximizing value and ensuring compliance.

Here are the top recommendations for license management:

  1. Assess Your Needs Regularly: Continuously evaluate your organization’s needs to ensure your Microsoft 365 licenses align with current and future requirements.
  2. Understand License Terms: Be well-informed about the terms and conditions of your licenses, especially regarding usage rights, limitations, and compliance requirements.
  3. Centralize License Management: Use a centralized system for tracking and managing your licenses to avoid redundancy and ensure efficient utilization.
  4. Train Your Team: Ensure your team knows the features and tools available in your Microsoft 365 licenses to maximize utilization.
  5. Avoid Common Mistakes: These include overbuying licenses you don’t need, underutilizing the features you pay for, and neglecting regular reviews of your licensing needs.

FAQs on Microsoft E1 and E3 Licenses

Q: What are the main differences between Microsoft E1 and E3 licenses?

  • A: E1 offers basic online Office applications and services, ideal for small to medium-sized businesses. E3 includes all E1 features plus complete desktop Office applications and enhanced security tools suitable for larger organizations.

Q: Is Microsoft E3 worth the extra cost over E1?

  • A: It depends on your organization’s size, remote work needs, and the requirement for advanced security and desktop applications. E3 is beneficial for larger businesses with complex needs.

Q: Can I switch between E1 and E3 licenses if my business needs change?

  • A: Microsoft 365 subscriptions are flexible, allowing you to upgrade or downgrade licenses based on changing business requirements.

Q: Are the security features significantly different in E1 and E3 licenses?

  • A: Yes, E3 offers more advanced security features, including data loss prevention and rights management, which are not available in E1.

Q: Can E1 license users install Office apps on their desktops?

  • A: No, E1 licenses only include online versions of Office apps. Desktop applications are available with E3 licenses.


  • Fredrik Filipsson

    Fredrik Filipsson brings two decades of Oracle license management experience, including a nine-year tenure at Oracle and 11 years in Oracle license consulting. His expertise extends across leading IT corporations like IBM, enriching his profile with a broad spectrum of software and cloud projects. Filipsson's proficiency encompasses IBM, SAP, Microsoft, and Salesforce platforms, alongside significant involvement in Microsoft Copilot and AI initiatives, enhancing organizational efficiency.